Obesity is intricately linked with multiple medical problems, knee pain, and hip pain. With more than 74% of its population considered overweight or obese, the United States is the ninth-most corpulent nation on Earth, according to the World Health Organization.
A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested that the problem is getting worse. The researchers wrote that “the waists of men, women, blacks, whites and Mexican-Americans all grew significantly from 1999 to 2012.”
The average man’s waistline expanded from 38.9 inches to 39.7 inches, while the typical woman’s measurement grew from 36.3 inches to 37.8 inches, according to the study (published in the Journal of the American Medical Association).
USA Today reported that researchers detected an increase in “abdominal obesity” in 43 percent of men and 64 percent of women. In 1999, the statistics were 37 percent of men and 55 percent of women.
The study involved 32,816 adults, including African-American women in their 30s, Mexican-American women older than 70, Mexican-American men in their 20s, African-American men in their 30s and white women in their 40s.
The Washington Post noted that “obesity calculated from body mass index, which measures body fat based on height and weight, (has) remained relatively stable.” However, BMI does not measure the distribution of weight. Patients with normal BMIs can have large waistlines, which leave them more vulnerable to cardiovascular disease.
Patients with abdominal obesity also are more likely to experience hip pain or knee pain. They have an elevated risk of osteoarthritis developing in their hips and knees, which sometimes requires joint replacement.
In a story by The Associated Press, Dr. William Dietz (an obesity expert formerly with the CDC) said: “Even though the obesity rate may be stable, fat distribution may be changing. The seemingly contradictory trends are puzzling. It could be that Americans are exercising less and getting flabby. But because fat weighs less than muscle, they are not necessarily getting heavier.”
To prevent abdominal obesity, it is necessary to adopt a healthy diet and engage in regular exercise. The body stores carbohydrates as fat, often in the lower part of the torso. Reducing carb intake is key to staying in shape.
A balanced diet consists primarily of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean protein. These foods contain few calories, but provide the vitamins, minerals and fiber essential to fitness. Spinach and other green, leafy veggies are the best because they deliver nutrients while burning fat.
Studies have linked sedentary behaviors, like spending too much time sitting, with a number of illnesses and diseases. Couch potatoes also are more susceptible to hip or knee osteoarthritis, which causes pain and limits mobility.
The solution is to stay active and adopt a regimen of daily exercise. Effective workouts can be as simple as walking or running in place, or on a treadmill, while watching television.
Other popular options include walking or running outside, swimming in a pool, and playing sports like tennis or golf. Cardio exercises, those that sustain an elevated heart rate for 20 minutes, burn the most fat. If you need help addressing your knee pain or need help developing a proper exercise regimen, contact our renowned sports medicine team at San Diego Orthopedic Surgery today.